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Global Climate Change Impact on Crops Expected Within 10 Years, NASA Study Finds

In Brief:

Climate change may affect the production of maize (corn) and wheat as early as 2030, according to a new NASA study.

Lee este anuncio de prensa en español aqui.

Climate change may affect the production of maize (corn) and wheat as early as 2030 under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario, according to a new NASA study published in the journal, Nature Food. Maize crop yields are projected to decline 24%, while wheat could potentially see growth of about 17%.

Using advanced climate and agricultural models, scientists found that the change in yields is due to projected increases in temperature, shifts in rainfall patterns, and elevated surface carbon dioxide concentrations from human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. These changes would make it more difficult to grow maize in the tropics, but could expand wheat’s growing range.

“We did not expect to see such a fundamental shift, as compared to crop yield projections from the previous generation of climate and crop models conducted in 2014,” said lead author Jonas Jägermeyr, a crop modeler and climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York City. The projected maize response was surprisingly large and negative, he said. “A 20% decrease from current production levels could have severe implications worldwide.”

Average global crop yields for maize, or corn, may see a decrease of 24% by late century, with the declines becoming apparent by 2030, with high greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new NASA study. Wheat, in contrast, may see an uptick in crop yields by about 17%. The change in yields is due to the projected increases in temperature, shifts in rainfall patterns and elevated surface carbon dioxide concentrations due to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, making it more difficult to grow maize in the tropics and expanding wheat’s growing range. Credit: NASA/Katy Mersmann Download from NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

To arrive at their projections, the research team used two sets of models. First, they used climate model simulations from the international Climate Model Intercomparison Project-Phase 6 (CMIP6). Each of the five CMIP6 climate models used for this study runs its own unique response of Earth’s atmosphere to greenhouse gas emission scenarios through 2100. These responses differ somewhat due to variations in their representations of the Earth's climate system.

Get NASA's Climate Change News: Subscribe to the Newsletter »

Then the research team used the climate model simulations as inputs for 12 state-of-the-art global crop models that are part of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), an international partnership coordinated by Columbia University. The crop models simulate on a large scale how crops grow and respond to environmental conditions such as temperature, rainfall and atmospheric carbon dioxide, which are provided by the climate models. Each crop species’ behavior is based on their real life biological responses studied in indoor and outdoor lab experiments. In the end, the team created about 240 global climate-crop model simulations for each crop. By using multiple climate and crop models in various combinations, the researchers were more confident in their results.

“What we're doing is driving crop simulations that are effectively growing virtual crops day-by-day, powered by a supercomputer, and then looking at the year-by-year and decade-by-decade change in each location of the world,” said Alex Ruane, co-director of the GISS Climate Impacts Group and a co-author of the study.

This study focused on climate change impacts. These models do not address economic incentives, changing farming practices, and adaptations such as breeding hardier crop varieties, although that is an area of active research. The research team plans to look at these angles in follow-up work, since these factors will also determine the fate of agricultural yields in the future as people respond to climate-driven changes.

The team looked at changes to long-term average crop yields and introduced a new estimate for when climate change impacts “emerge” as a discernable signal from the usual, historically known variability in crop yields. Soybean and rice projections showed a decline in some regions but at the global scale the different models still disagree on the overall impacts from climate change. For maize and wheat, the climate effect was much clearer, with most of the model results pointing in the same direction.

Maize, or corn, is grown all over the world, and large quantities are produced in countries nearer the equator. North and Central America, West Africa, Central Asia, Brazil, and China will potentially see their maize yields decline in the coming years and beyond as average temperatures rise across these breadbasket regions, putting more stress on the plants.

Wheat, which grows best in temperate climates, may see a broader area where it can be grown as temperatures rise, including the Northern United States and Canada, North China Plains, Central Asia, Southern Australia, and East Africa, but these gains may level off mid-century.

Temperature is not the only factor the models consider when simulating future crop yields. Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have a positive effect on photosynthesis and water retention, increasing crop yields, though often at a cost to nutrition. This effect happens more so for wheat than maize, which is more accurately captured in the current generation of models. Rising global temperatures also are linked with changes in rainfall patterns, and the frequency and duration of heat waves and droughts, which can affect crop health and productivity. Higher temperatures also affect the length of growing seasons and accelerate crop maturity.

“You can think of plants as collecting sunlight over the course of the growing season,” said Ruane. “They're collecting that energy and then putting it into the plant and the grain. So, if you rush through your growth stages, by the end of the season, you just haven't collected as much energy.” As a result, the plant produces less total grain than it would with a longer development period. “By growing faster, your yield actually goes down.”

“Even under optimistic climate change scenarios, where societies enact ambitious efforts to limit global temperature rise, global agriculture is facing a new climate reality,” Jägermeyr said. “And with the interconnectedness of the global food system, impacts in even one region’s breadbasket will be felt worldwide.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Global Climate Change Impact on Crops Expected Within 10 Years, NASA Study Finds

In Brief:

Climate change may affect the production of maize (corn) and wheat as early as 2030, according to a new NASA study.

Lee este anuncio de prensa en español aqui.

Climate change may affect the production of maize (corn) and wheat as early as 2030 under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario, according to a new NASA study published in the journal, Nature Food. Maize crop yields are projected to decline 24%, while wheat could potentially see growth of about 17%.

Using advanced climate and agricultural models, scientists found that the change in yields is due to projected increases in temperature, shifts in rainfall patterns, and elevated surface carbon dioxide concentrations from human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. These changes would make it more difficult to grow maize in the tropics, but could expand wheat’s growing range.

“We did not expect to see such a fundamental shift, as compared to crop yield projections from the previous generation of climate and crop models conducted in 2014,” said lead author Jonas Jägermeyr, a crop modeler and climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York City. The projected maize response was surprisingly large and negative, he said. “A 20% decrease from current production levels could have severe implications worldwide.”

Average global crop yields for maize, or corn, may see a decrease of 24% by late century, with the declines becoming apparent by 2030, with high greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new NASA study. Wheat, in contrast, may see an uptick in crop yields by about 17%. The change in yields is due to the projected increases in temperature, shifts in rainfall patterns and elevated surface carbon dioxide concentrations due to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, making it more difficult to grow maize in the tropics and expanding wheat’s growing range. Credit: NASA/Katy Mersmann Download from NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

To arrive at their projections, the research team used two sets of models. First, they used climate model simulations from the international Climate Model Intercomparison Project-Phase 6 (CMIP6). Each of the five CMIP6 climate models used for this study runs its own unique response of Earth’s atmosphere to greenhouse gas emission scenarios through 2100. These responses differ somewhat due to variations in their representations of the Earth's climate system.

Get NASA's Climate Change News: Subscribe to the Newsletter »

Then the research team used the climate model simulations as inputs for 12 state-of-the-art global crop models that are part of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), an international partnership coordinated by Columbia University. The crop models simulate on a large scale how crops grow and respond to environmental conditions such as temperature, rainfall and atmospheric carbon dioxide, which are provided by the climate models. Each crop species’ behavior is based on their real life biological responses studied in indoor and outdoor lab experiments. In the end, the team created about 240 global climate-crop model simulations for each crop. By using multiple climate and crop models in various combinations, the researchers were more confident in their results.

“What we're doing is driving crop simulations that are effectively growing virtual crops day-by-day, powered by a supercomputer, and then looking at the year-by-year and decade-by-decade change in each location of the world,” said Alex Ruane, co-director of the GISS Climate Impacts Group and a co-author of the study.

This study focused on climate change impacts. These models do not address economic incentives, changing farming practices, and adaptations such as breeding hardier crop varieties, although that is an area of active research. The research team plans to look at these angles in follow-up work, since these factors will also determine the fate of agricultural yields in the future as people respond to climate-driven changes.

The team looked at changes to long-term average crop yields and introduced a new estimate for when climate change impacts “emerge” as a discernable signal from the usual, historically known variability in crop yields. Soybean and rice projections showed a decline in some regions but at the global scale the different models still disagree on the overall impacts from climate change. For maize and wheat, the climate effect was much clearer, with most of the model results pointing in the same direction.

Maize, or corn, is grown all over the world, and large quantities are produced in countries nearer the equator. North and Central America, West Africa, Central Asia, Brazil, and China will potentially see their maize yields decline in the coming years and beyond as average temperatures rise across these breadbasket regions, putting more stress on the plants.

Wheat, which grows best in temperate climates, may see a broader area where it can be grown as temperatures rise, including the Northern United States and Canada, North China Plains, Central Asia, Southern Australia, and East Africa, but these gains may level off mid-century.

Temperature is not the only factor the models consider when simulating future crop yields. Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have a positive effect on photosynthesis and water retention, increasing crop yields, though often at a cost to nutrition. This effect happens more so for wheat than maize, which is more accurately captured in the current generation of models. Rising global temperatures also are linked with changes in rainfall patterns, and the frequency and duration of heat waves and droughts, which can affect crop health and productivity. Higher temperatures also affect the length of growing seasons and accelerate crop maturity.

“You can think of plants as collecting sunlight over the course of the growing season,” said Ruane. “They're collecting that energy and then putting it into the plant and the grain. So, if you rush through your growth stages, by the end of the season, you just haven't collected as much energy.” As a result, the plant produces less total grain than it would with a longer development period. “By growing faster, your yield actually goes down.”

“Even under optimistic climate change scenarios, where societies enact ambitious efforts to limit global temperature rise, global agriculture is facing a new climate reality,” Jägermeyr said. “And with the interconnectedness of the global food system, impacts in even one region’s breadbasket will be felt worldwide.”

Onboarding Action Team makes it easy to welcome new CCLers

Onboarding Action Team makes it easy to welcome new CCLers

By Katie Zakrzewski

CCL group leaders have a lot on their plates. From juggling chapter operations and outreach to preparing for lobby sessions, CCL group leaders usually oversee the task of onboarding new members as well.

In July of this year, CCL staff members Sandy Simon and Elli Sparks set out to take a load off of the shoulders of group leaders. The two created the Onboarding Action Team to provide a place for education, sharing and resources for the onboarding process in a nurturing, interactive and enjoyable environment. 

Sandy Simon is the Help Desk Coordinator and National Resolutions Project Coordinator for CCL. Elli Sparks is CCL’s Director of Field Development.

Onboarding: Making new volunteers feel welcome

Sandy defines the onboarding process.

“We look at onboarding in its most expansive definition — how to make people feel welcome in CCL and how to get them started right away,” Sandy explained. 

Elli explains how the two got started and how this action team is designed to help group leaders save time.

“Onboarding by default is a group leader’s job, but we realized that it needed more specific focus that group leaders just didn’t have the time to give to it,” she says. “With this action team, we’re bringing in the experts who know about efficiency in volunteering. We want to continue to make volunteering a better experience.”

Learning from others’ onboarding success

The Onboarding Action Team hosts meetings with guest speakers — people who, according to Elli, are not only good at onboarding, but share how their unique paradigms, resources, and perspectives shape their influence in the onboarding process. In an upcoming meeting, CCL staff member Brett Cease will explain the pyramid of engagement in climate advocacy.

Elli and Sandy have begun compiling resources, documents, and strategies from chapters around the country that have demonstrated unique and successful onboarding processes. 

“As I started talking to chapters that were doing a good job with onboarding, they would share details that I thought others needed to know,” Elli explains. “These chapters had figured out not only how to recruit people, but also how to get these new volunteers engaged and taking on roles.”

Sandy, who since the inception of the action team has been talking with chapters about their onboarding processes, reflects on the success that chapters can have if they master the onboarding process.

“All of those successful chapters were doing things that I thought were good examples of onboarding components. Every chapter starts out small. Once they figure out their onboarding processes, they begin to grow. There are lessons that can be learned and tools that can be utilized for a chapter of  any size.”

Dig into onboarding resources

The Onboarding Action Team’s page has several helpful files to help chapters, such as a volunteer engagement practices guide, an example of a nudge email sent by one chapter to encourage new volunteers to get involved, as well as a large welcome manual put together by the Texas team.

Elli explains the value of these resources.

“Before COVID, I had the chance to travel around three states where I met with each and every chapter. The group leaders often asked for tips for onboarding new volunteers. This challenge remains. Group leaders are dealing with so much, and we thought that an action team might be an excellent place for content such as this.”

Despite being founded on July 6 of this year, the Onboarding Action Team has boomed with popularity, and has 110 members at the time of this writing. 

Elli credits CCL volunteers for the Action Team’s success.

“CCL provides a framework and the volunteers provide the creativity,” she explains.

Elli and Sandy emphasize the influence that volunteers have had on the Onboarding Action Team’s development and growth.

“Because there wasn’t something like this before, people didn’t have a place to share their challenges and ideas and resources, and then use the resources that our guest speakers share with them,” Elli says. “Our members are very generous, and they want everybody to succeed. That gives everyone a positive way to be more successful in their own onboarding efforts.”

The Onboarding Action Team has a wide array of events coming up, designed to focus on specific facets of onboarding. Some of those events include The Pyramid of Engagement, Volunteer Activation and Retention, Mentoring New Volunteers, Using Social Media to Grow Your Chapter, The Psychology of the Climate Activist, and Team Development for Chapter Growth. 

The creativity and determination of CCL’s volunteers has allowed every seed planted by staff members to flourish. The Onboarding Action Team’s success is another example of CCL volunteers’ willingness to thrive, and to help others do the same.

The post Onboarding Action Team makes it easy to welcome new CCLers appeared first on Citizens' Climate Lobby.